Volleyball suffers close defeat at hands of Bowling Green

Kent+State+sophomore+Claire+Tulisiak+watches+as+the+ball+lands+out+of+bounds+during+the+Homecoming+match+against+the+University+of+Toledo+Saturday%2C+Oct.+14%2C+2017.

Kent State sophomore Claire Tulisiak watches as the ball lands out of bounds during the Homecoming match against the University of Toledo Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017.

Taylor Sforzo

With one kill from senior outside hitter Kelsey Bittinger, the Kent State volleyball team tied their match against Bowling Green (15-10, 11-3 Mid-American Conference), 2-2, at the end of the fourth set.

The Flashes (5-20, 3-11 MAC) finally got to see a fifth set for only the fourth time this season. Unfortunately, Kent State fell 15-9 in that set, losing to the Falcons 3-2 (18-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-14, 9-15).

“We closed strong in the fourth,” coach Don Gromala said. “Our serve really got them out of rhythm. It was an unfortunate result, but I liked how the team fought and battled tonight.”

Senior defensive specialist and libero Challen Geraghty matched a career-high with 39 digs during the match.

“We changed up our defense and put Challen in a different spot to give her more opportunities to make some plays,” Gromala said. “Both teams knew there was a good libero on the other side and were scheming to avoid her. She played a really smart match tonight. She plays hard and covers a lot of ground.”

On top of Geraghty’s 39 digs, Bittinger led with 19 of the team’s 53 kills.

Defensively, both teams played a great game. Hitting percentages were low for the first four sets, and both teams held a negative percentage for one set.

“The hitters swung hard, but the defense was playing really hard on both sides,” Gromala said. “It’s the second time around in the division, so teams know their opponent a little better and how to defend them.”

The Flashes also lost Friday to Miami (OH) (18-8, 10-3) in straight sets (24-26, 23-25, 16-25).

Kent State fought back in the first set after they were down 17-10, and the team came back to tie the set at 20, only to lose it 26-24.

Despite the losses this weekend, Geraghty said she was proud of how the Flashes played Saturday against the Falcons.

“Our defense really came alive,” Geraghty said. “We worked together well, and we played with intensity the whole match, and it was a really exciting atmosphere.”

Kent State is set to play Ohio at 7 p.m. Thursday and Eastern Michigan at 5 p.m Saturday to wrap up the last weekend of conference play.

Taylor Sforzo is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected]